Spinal stenosis is also commonly known as vertebral stenosis. In this condition, a patient experiences narrowing of the spaces in the spine. It ultimately puts pressure on the nerves that flow through the spine. This condition usually appears in the lower back and the neck.
This condition is more common in people over the age of 50. In some of the cases, patients do not feel any related symptoms. Others may feel discomfort, tingling, numbness, or a weakening of the muscles. These symptoms may get worse over time. In severe cases, doctors recommend surgery to create additional space for the spinal cord or nerves.
Types of Spinal Stenosis
The two major types include:
In this condition, the narrowing of the spine happens in the part of the spine at the neck level.
It is one of the most common types of spinal stenosis. In lumbar stenosis, the narrowing of the spine occurs in your lower back.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
This condition can occur anywhere along your spine. Its causes and symptoms vary depending on the location. It usually appears in the cervical region or the lumbar region in the lower back.
A person may experience the following symptoms in the lower back:
- Lower back pain.
- Pain or aching in the back and legs. It becomes worse while standing or walking.
- Cramping, numbness, or tingling sensation in the feet and legs.
- Muscle weakness in the feet and legs.
Following symptoms are experienced by a person suffering from stenosis in the neck include:
- Neck pain.
- Tingling or numbness feeling in arms and hands.
- Weakness in arms and hands.
What are the Causes of Spinal Stenosis?
One of the most common causes of spinal stenosis is aging. With aging, the tissues and bones in your spine may enlarge, squeezing the nerves. Other health conditions that contribute to the development of spinal stenosis include:
It is a hereditary disorder that appears due to genetic mutations. It affects the spine and other parts of the body.
It is a type of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation in the spine. It results in the growth of bone spurs.
Congenital Spinal Stenosis
It is a congenital disability in which the spinal canal is naturally narrow.
This type of arthritis affects the joints present in the hand, spine, knees, and hips. It is the inflammation of one or more joints. It causes bone spurs to grow in the spine.
It is a chronic disease that causes bones to get weaker and grow larger than usual.
It is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the joints. This involves inflammation, causing bone damage and bone spurs and also leads to swelling and stiffness in the joints.
This abnormal spine curving leads to specific genetic conditions or neurological abnormalities.
Due to slipped discs or bone fractures, vertebrae or bone fragments pressure the nerves present in the spine.
In this condition, abnormal tissue growths may develop in the spinal canal. It causes changes in the surrounding bone.
In herniated disks, an injury occurs to the cushioning and connective tissue present between vertebrae. It plays the role of shock absorber between the vertebrae. Excessive strain or trauma to the spine is responsible for disk herniation.
How Is Spinal Stenosis Diagnosed?
If you feel any sign or symptom, consult your doctor immediately. He will ask about your medical history and perform a physical examination. Your healthcare provider will observe your movements and suggest you undergo the following tests.
- X-ray, MRI scan, or CT scan are utilized to view images of your spine.
- Electromyogram for checking the health of spinal nerves.
- Bone scan for looking at the damage to the spine.
Treatment Options for Spinal Stenosis
To treat spinal stenosis, the first-line treatment recommended by the doctor is medication.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help to provide you pain relief.
- Cortisone injections are injected into your spinal column to reduce swelling.
- Antidepressants such as tricyclic antidepressants help to ease chronic pain.
- Doctors recommend Anti-seizure drugs for decreasing pain from damaged nerves.
- Opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone are prescribed for short-term pain relief.
- Steroid injections can also help with the pain.
Your healthcare provider also suggests physical therapy to help strengthen and stretch your muscles.
If this condition affects your ability to walk and perform other routine activities, surgery is suggested. Several types of surgery for treating spinal stenosis include:
- Spinal fusion
At CMW, our expert team of specialists offers effective and reliable treatments for Spinal Stenosis. Schedule an appointment at CMW with our fellowship-trained surgeons and alleviate your pain symptoms today.